2017 Porsche 718 Cayman

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$53,900–$66,300 MSRP range
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Key Specs

of the 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Handling is sharp and precise
  • New engines have wider torque band, better acceleration
  • Excellent balance
  • Large rear window
  • Manual transmission is smooth and easy to operate
  • Exhaust note with sport exhaust equipped

The Bad

  • No Android Auto
  • Options are expensive
  • Fuel economy
  • Rear trunk won't fit large luggage
  • Low seating position can make it hard to climb in
  • Not many standard safety features

Notable Features of the 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman

  • Redesigned for 2017
  • New turbocharged four-cylinder engines
  • 718 Cayman and 718 Cayman S models
  • Six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission
  • Two-seat coupe
  • Mid-engine design

2017 Porsche 718 Cayman Road Test

Brian Wong
Versus The Competition:

The 718 Cayman S can step away from and dance around its competition, all with a goofy grin on its face.

The redesigned 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman two-seat coupe shares virtually all of its updates with the 2017 718 Boxster two-seat convertible I recently reviewed and liked very much. So I had high hopes for the 718 Cayman, as well, and I'm happy to say that it exceeded them. In fact, to me, the 718 Cayman is the best sports car Porsche makes.

Beyond the Boxster, the Porsche Cayman also goes head to head with other luxury sport coupes and convertibles like the Audi TTS and Mercedes-AMG SLC 43. (Compare those vehicles here.)


The most notable updates for the Cayman are a pair of all-new engines. Last year's horizontally opposed six-cylinder engines are gone, and there are two new turbocharged, horizontally opposed four-cylinders in their place. There are also in-cabin and technology updates, as well as new styling that makes the car appear lower and wider.

Compare the 2017 718 Cayman with last year's model here.

What We Tested

I tested a 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman S, the higher trim level, with a six-speed manual transmission. The vehicle has a starting price of $67,350 with destination. Base 718 Cayman models start at $54,950, also with the six-speed manual. Opting for the seven-speed automatic, which Porsche calls PDK, adds an additional $3,210 to either model.

From there, the 718 Cayman S piled on a king's ransom worth of options. Here are a few key ones:

The redesigned 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman two-seat coupe shares virtually all of its updates with the 2017 718 Boxster two-seat convertible I recently reviewed and liked very much. So I had high hopes for the 718 Cayman, as well, and I'm happy to say that it exceeded them. In fact, to me, the 718 Cayman is the best sports car Porsche makes.

Beyond the Boxster, the Porsche Cayman also goes head to head with other luxury sport coupes and convertibles like the Audi TTS and Mercedes-AMG SLC 43. (Compare those vehicles here.)


The most notable updates for the Cayman are a pair of all-new engines. Last year's horizontally opposed six-cylinder engines are gone, and there are two new turbocharged, horizontally opposed four-cylinders in their place. There are also in-cabin and technology updates, as well as new styling that makes the car appear lower and wider.

Compare the 2017 718 Cayman with last year's model here.

What We Tested

I tested a 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman S, the higher trim level, with a six-speed manual transmission. The vehicle has a starting price of $67,350 with destination. Base 718 Cayman models start at $54,950, also with the six-speed manual. Opting for the seven-speed automatic, which Porsche calls PDK, adds an additional $3,210 to either model.

From there, the 718 Cayman S piled on a king's ransom worth of options. Here are a few key ones:

  • Red Bordeaux leather interior: $2,950
  • Porsche Active Suspension Management: $2,070
  • Porsche Torque Vectoring: $1,320
  • Sport Chrono Package: $1,920
  • Heated seats: $530
  • Navigation: $1,730
  • Porsche Connect Plus smartphone connectivity: $1,300
  • Sport exhaust system: $2,540
  • Sport Seats Plus: $440
  • 20-inch Carrera S wheels: $1,580

These options, plus a few smaller ones, brought the total price of our test vehicle to $87,395.

Powertrain Updates

The smaller turbocharged four-cylinders produce more power than last year's engines. The Porsche Cayman features a 300-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter flat four-cylinder that makes 280 pounds-feet of torque — an improvement of 25 hp and 67 pounds-feet of torque compared with the 2016's base engine.

In the Porsche Cayman S I drove, the new engine is a 350-hp, turbocharged 2.5-liter flat four-cylinder that makes 309 pounds-feet of torque — an improvement of 25 hp and 36 pounds-feet of torque. Both the Cayman and Cayman S are rear-wheel drive and offer the same transmission options, mentioned above. The big advantage I found from the new engines (I tested the base engine in the 718 Boxster) is that they're responsive in the mid- to low-rpm range. Contrary to turbocharging history, the turbos have a big advantage over the normally aspirated version here, making the Cayman better and sharper than before.


Though the engines are smaller, fuel economy hasn't really benefitted. The Cayman gets an EPA-estimated 21/28/24 mpg city/highway/combined with the manual transmission, 22/29/25 mpg with the automatic. The Cayman S checks in at 20/26/22 mpg with the manual, 21/28/24 mpg with PDK. For each Porsche Cayman model, combined fuel economy hasn't changed versus their 2016 counterparts. Premium fuel is required.

Row, Row, Row Your Gears

Three of the key options found on our Cayman S were directly tied to its performance. The first, Sport Chrono, adds a drive mode selector to the steering wheel with four different options: Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and a customizable Individual setting. With PDK, Sport Chrono also adds launch control, while it offers rev-matching downshifts with the six-speed manual in Sport and Sport Plus modes.

This makes the manual, which was already a joy to operate, even more grin-inducing. It has a consistent, linear clutch action and well-defined gates that offer a satisfying mechanical click when the stick pops into gear. The rev-matching feature makes the whole car run smoother, and it makes you feel like a better driver than you actually are. The same thing could be said about the Cayman's handling.

Ahead of the Curve

If Sport Chrono's focus is on the throttle and transmission, then Porsche Torque Vectoring and Porsche Active Suspension Management are more focused on the handling aspect of the equation. PTV works in concert with the rear axle's mechanical differential lock to brake the inside rear wheel when cornering at high speed, shifting more power to the outside wheel. This improves turn-in, as the outside wheel essentially helps steer the car into the turn; combined with an updated steering system lifted from the 911 Turbo, it makes the whole car feel more responsive and agile. And electro-mechanical though the steering may be, it still offers plenty of feedback; it's the best iteration of one of these systems I've driven to date.

Also helping the Porsche 718 Cayman's handling acumen, PASM lowers its ride height by 0.39 inch in the base and 0.78 inch in the S, plus it adds adaptive shock absorbers with two driver-selectable suspension settings: Normal and Sport. In Normal mode, the ride is pliant and comfortable, removing chatter from blemished roads and keeping things smooth. But Sport is where the real fun is, stiffening up the shocks — which, yes, makes the cabin noisier and can jostle you a bit on rough roads, but the trade-offs are worth it when you round that first corner.

The Cayman S is impeccably balanced; its mid-engine layout and lowered ride height make it feel as though it's glued to the ground. There's a very winding road I like to use to test vehicle handling — it's  downhill, with a lot of switchbacks and undulations that normally unsettle cars. The 718 Cayman S is the first car I've driven down that road that ate it up without any drama and nary a squealing tire. It was markedly better than even the 718 Boxster I took there a few weeks earlier; that car felt like it was close to stepping out at times, but the 718 Cayman S took the same corners with verve.

Interior Updates

The 2017 718 Cayman S gets interior updates that include new material choices and a new 7-inch touchscreen with an updated multimedia system. Porsche Connect Plus adds smartphone connectivity features via a downloadable app, as well as Apple CarPlay. Android Auto, however, is conspicuously absent.

There are a few features in the 718 Cayman's interior that give it a leg up on the 718 Boxster. First, it has much better visibility than the Boxster with its top up. The Boxster's soft-top makes for massive blind spots on both sides, and it has a much smaller rear window because it has to fold down and fit where the roof is stored. But the Porsche Cayman has a large rear trunk opening, almost like a hatchback, with big rear glass and smaller C-pillars that make for a much better view of the Cayman's surroundings.


Not having to store the roof also opens up more cargo space. The Cayman's rear cargo area is about the same size as the Boxster's, but there's a nice shelf on which objects can be stored; I kept a camera tripod and jacket on that shelf most of the week. This gives the Porsche Cayman 9.7 cubic feet of cargo space in the rear (versus 4.4 cubic feet in the Boxster) to go along with 5.3 cubic feet in its front trunk.

It's worth noting that this larger rear cargo area still won't fit a large suitcase; anything larger than a carry-on will have to fit up front. Nor will it really fit a bag of golf clubs. Those have to sit in the passenger seat — which could be a curse or a blessing depending on how you look at it.

Conclusion

There are many reasons not to buy a two-seat sports car that costs almost $90,000. It's not at all practical, and even at such a high price, it's missing a lot of advanced safety technology. You can only fit one friend in it, and the two of you might have to share a suitcase for the weekend. But, my goodness, drive it hard on a summer day and all of a sudden it becomes abundantly clear why someone might pony up that much cash for a Porsche 718 Cayman S.

What's most interesting to me is that the starting price for a 2017 911 Carrera, $90,450, is just a hair over $3,000 more than my well-equipped test car's price. But even though the 911 Carrera has more power and pedigree, I think I prefer the 718 Cayman S. It's the more balanced car, and the way it stays absolutely nailed to the pavement when pushed is exhilarating.

This is a very successful redesign of the Porsche 718 Cayman S. The long list of updates to the mid-engine sports car for 2017 make it feel, as Daft Punk would say, "harder, better, faster, stronger."


Latest 2017 718 Cayman Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.9)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.4)
Reliability
(4.9)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

What Drivers Are Saying

(3.0)

Great car to buy. Value worth it

by Concern from Pittsburgh on July 23, 2018

Great car to buy very smoothly driven. Would recommend to all my friends and family. A little expensive but worth it. It solid built worth the money Read full review

(5.0)

Tight as a drum!

by Rob C from Fort Myers FL on June 7, 2018

Very tight, car is well put together and tight as a drum. While it's fun on the racetrack, it's comfy around town. I'm loving the car! Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman currently has 3 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman has not been tested.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Powertrain

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / 50,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Porsche

Program Benefits

24-hour road side assistance, battery jump start, flat tire service, emergency fuel delivery, lockout service, replacement keys, extrication/winch service and trip interruption.

  • Limited Warranty

    2 Years / Unlimited Miles Warranty coverage after the expiration of the new vehicle limited warranty or from the date of sale if the new vehicle limited warranty has expired.

    2 Years / Unlimited Miles Warranty coverage after the expiration of the new vehicle limited warranty or from the date of sale if the new vehicle limited warranty has expired.
  • Eligibility

    Under 8 years / 100,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 111 point mechanical and visual inspection..

    See inspection details.

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All Model Years for the Porsche 718 Cayman

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The 718 Cayman received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker